According to the Victorian Education Department bullying is defined as:

‘when someone, or a group of people, who have more power at the time, deliberately upset or hurt another person, their property, reputation or social acceptance on more than one occasion.’

Understanding bullying becomes clearer when we identify examples from the 3 categories of bullying behaviour, as outlined by Lawson (1995). It is important to remember that the behaviour is not considered bullying if it is an isolated incident.

Direct Physical Bullying

This includes, but is not limited to hitting, tripping, pushing, taking possessions or damaging property.

Direct Verbal Bullying

Direct verbal bullying can include name calling, offensive, threatening and insultive remarks. Topics may include homophobic and racist remarks, highlighting special needs or verbal abuse.

Indirect Bullying

This form of bullying is harder to recognise and is often carried out behind the bullied student’s back. It is designed to harm someone’s social reputation and /or cause humiliation.

Indirect bullying includes lying and spreading rumours, playing nasty jokes to embarrass and humiliate, mimicking, encouraging others to socially exclude someone, damaging someone’s social reputation and social acceptance, cyber-bullying, which includes the use of email and text messages or chat rooms to humiliate and distress.